100 books like The Ascent of Money

By Niall Ferguson,

Here are 100 books that The Ascent of Money fans have personally recommended if you like The Ascent of Money. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Big Short

Claire A. Hill Author Of Better Bankers, Better Banks: Promoting Good Business through Contractual Commitment

From my list on bankers, especially bankers behaving badly.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been interested—a vast understatement to anyone who knows me—in what makes people tick. I’ve focused on analyzing business actors – bankers, lawyers, investors, executives, shareholders, and others. What do they want? Some combination of money, power, or prestige? How does loving to win fit in? How about hating to lose? When is enough (money/power/prestige) enough? What do they think is ok to do to get what they want? What do they think is not ok? Amazingly, as a law professor, I can pursue that interest as part of my job, and – I think and hope – do so in a way that might help lawmakers, regulators, and policymakers do better.

Claire's book list on bankers, especially bankers behaving badly

Claire A. Hill Why did Claire love this book?

As everyone knows at this point, anything Michael Lewis writes will be enormous fun to read, while being about something really important—something he’ll make you care about even if you didn’t when you started the book.

In this case, the subject is people who bet on the direction of mortgages (and thus, house prices), and how those who bet on a huge plunge were right. This book has an amazing cast of characters, all richly drawn: some are smart, some are not so smart; some are excellent schmoozers, some can barely tolerate human interaction; some care a lot about money, some care more about being right, especially if everyone else is wrong.

Each book I've recommended cries out to be made into a movie. This one actually was.

By Michael Lewis,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked The Big Short as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The real story of the crash began in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn't shine and the SEC doesn't dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower- and middle-class Americans who can't pay their debts. The smart people who understood what was or might be happening were paralyzed by hope and fear; in any case, they weren't talking.

Michael Lewis creates a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his #1 bestseller Liar's Poker. Out of a…


Book cover of The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World

Selwyn Parker Author Of The Great Crash: How the Stock Market Crash of 1929 Plunged the World into Depression

From my list on economics and investment.

Why am I passionate about this?

Selwyn Parker is an award-winning journalist, author, speaker and pianist. In journalism he focuses on transformational contemporary issues like the new era in energy, the upheaval in banking, the revolution in transportation and the fast-moving world of investment. However most of his dozen books – novels and non-fiction -- are rooted in landmark historical events whose effects still register today.

Selwyn's book list on economics and investment

Selwyn Parker Why did Selwyn love this book?

Apart from revealing and sometimes dismaying insights into the workings of the White House, this legendary chairman of the US Federal Reserve presents a tour d’horizon of the economic thought that underpins the creation of wealth. As such, it should be obligatory reading for anybody interested in how nations prosper (or don’t), how governments routinely make disastrous interventions even if they aim to act for the right reasons, why Adam Smith continues to influence our lives (even though we don’t know it), and why capitalism is so foolishly demonised by banner-waving grandstanders.

By Alan Greenspan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Age of Turbulence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Alan Greenspan's The Age of Turbulence is the essential guide to what is happening in the world, and where we're heading, from the ultimate expert.

Alan Greenspan wielded more power than the presidents he worked for, from Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton to George Bush and his son. He was in the command room of the world economy for longer than any other single figure. One word from him could send markets into freefall.

Now Alan Greenspan, the legendary former chairman of the Federal Reserve, gives us a unique insider's view of the world over his lifetime, from stock market…


Book cover of The Great Crash 1929

Matthew P. Fink Author Of The Unlikely Reformer: Carter Glass and Financial Regulation

From my list on American financial history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was always interested in American history and studied at Brown University under an outstanding professor of American economic history, James Blaine Hedges.   During my career at the mutual fund association I often approached issues from an historical perspective. For example:  Why did Congress draft legislation in a particular way?  How would past events likely affect a regulator’s decisions today?  As a lawyer I had been trained to write carefully and precisely.  As a lobbyist I learned the need to pre

Matthew's book list on American financial history

Matthew P. Fink Why did Matthew love this book?

The book does an outstanding job in describing the people and events that produced the October 1929 stock market crash in a highly entertaining style. Galbraith wrote more like a witty and insightful journalist than the award-winning economist that he was. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn about American financial history. The book is a model for writers who want to educate non-experts about public policy issues.

By John Kenneth Galbraith,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Great Crash 1929 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'One of the most engrossing books I have ever read' Daily Telegraph

John Kenneth Galbraith's now-classic account of the 1929 stock market collapse remains the definitive book on the most disastrous cycle of boom and bust in modern times.

Vividly depicting the causes, effects, aftermath and long-term consequences of financial meltdown, Galbraith also describes the people and the corporations who were affected by the catastrophe. With its depiction of the 'gold-rush fantasy' ingrained in America's psychology, The Great Crash 1929 remains a penetrating study of human greed and folly.


Book cover of Stocks for the Long Run: The Definitive Guide to Financial Market Returns & Long Term Investment Strategies

Selwyn Parker Author Of The Great Crash: How the Stock Market Crash of 1929 Plunged the World into Depression

From my list on economics and investment.

Why am I passionate about this?

Selwyn Parker is an award-winning journalist, author, speaker and pianist. In journalism he focuses on transformational contemporary issues like the new era in energy, the upheaval in banking, the revolution in transportation and the fast-moving world of investment. However most of his dozen books – novels and non-fiction -- are rooted in landmark historical events whose effects still register today.

Selwyn's book list on economics and investment

Selwyn Parker Why did Selwyn love this book?

Professional investors troop to Wharton School to sit at the feet of professor Siegel and learn about why stocks – or shares – should be the bedrock of any investment strategy for the very obvious reason that it’s the best way to capitalise on the steady growth of the American economy. And by implication, other growing economies. If you haven’t got skin in the game, you’re on the sidelines. A dry book unless you have an intellectual interest in investment, it is nevertheless extremely thought-provoking and enlightening. It’s been through several editions and is routinely updated to reflect the latest developments such as exchange-traded funds, the phenomenon of the millennium.

By Jeremy J. Siegel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stocks for the Long Run as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Stocks for the Long Run" offers solid strategies for long-term investment success, showing investors how to understand and interpret the movements of the market over time. The book provides a detailed description of market performance since 1802 and an examination of the economic, political and fiscal changes that affect the stock market. It also contains an analysis of long-term stock opportunities in foreign markets.


Book cover of The Making Of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy Of American Empire

Robert Chernomas Author Of Neoliberal Lives: Work, Politics, Nature, and Health in the Contemporary United States

From my list on class warfare and that the wrong class is winning.

Why am I passionate about this?

Neoliberalism and I have grown up in opposition to one another over the past four decades. As a professor of economics, union, and political activist I have observed, wrote about, and resisted its effects on the life chances of the great majority of its citizens with particular focus on the United States as its primary protagonist and gatekeeper. The opposition to this transformative epoch included writing about the significant contributions of my profession to Neoliberal economics in two previous books; The Profit Doctrine: The Economists of the Neoliberal Era and Economics in the 21st Century: A Critical Perspective.

Robert's book list on class warfare and that the wrong class is winning

Robert Chernomas Why did Robert love this book?

This book adds the international dimension to the Neoliberal story. Gindin and Panitch argue that the U.S. national state and “American MNCs” found key allies abroad among many dominant groups, as various state elites and dominant class fractions worldwide stood to gain through neoliberal reforms. The authors argue that supranational organizations developed largely along U.S. strategic lines. They explain for example how U.S. representatives hold inordinate influence through supranational forums such as the Bank for International Settlements, the World Trade Organization, and the International Monetary Fund. Furthermore, legal reforms (with U.S. support) have been made in many countries to limit the influence that voters have on economic policy with, for example, the de-politicization of trade policy. This is the story we tell for the U.S. writ large.

By Leo Panitch, Sam Gindin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Making Of Global Capitalism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The all-encompassing embrace of world capitalism at the beginning of the twenty-first century was generally attributed to the superiority of competitive markets. Globalization had appeared to be the natural outcome of this unstoppable process. But today, with global markets roiling and increasingly reliant on state intervention to stay afloat, it has become clear that markets and states aren't straightforwardly opposing forces.

In this groundbreaking work, Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin demonstrate the intimate relationship between modern capitalism and the American state. The Making of Global Capitalism identifies the centrality of the social conflicts that occur within states rather than between…


Book cover of Tower of Basel: The Shadowy History of the Secret Bank that Runs the World

Mel Mattison Author Of Quoz: A Financial Thriller

From my list on exploring the dark side of finance.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a huge thriller fan, and I love finance. In fact, I worked in the industry for over twenty years. I have an MBA from Duke and have been the CEO of three different SEC/FINRA-registered broker-dealers. Unfortunately, I’ve found myself deep into a thriller with a financial component that turns out to be implausible, overly simplistic, or both. It breaks the narrative for me. With these books, that’s not a concern. Financial thriller aficionados unite!

Mel's book list on exploring the dark side of finance

Mel Mattison Why did Mel love this book?

As a finance guy, I had always heard of the BIS or Bank for International Settlements, but I had no idea what it did, how it worked, or its history.

Adam LeBor expertly explains in the Tower of Basel not only what and who the BIS is, but how they have manipulated and influenced the global economy for generations. Despite the bank's strong connections to the Third Reich during the 1930s, the BIS continues to dominate global finance today as the central bank for central banks.

Every two months, leaders from the most powerful central banks in the world including the Federal Reserve meet in Basil to chart a course for the world economy under a cloak of secrecy. Tower of Basel rips the veil from this clandestine organization and exposes dark forces few are aware of.

By Adam Lebor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tower of Basel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tower of Basel is the first investigative history of the world's most secretive global financial institution. Based on extensive archival research in Switzerland, Britain, and the United States, and in-depth interviews with key decision-makers,including Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve Sir Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England and former senior Bank for International Settlements managers and officials,Tower of Basel tells the inside story of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS): the central bankers' own bank.Created by the governors of the Bank of England and the Reichsbank in 1930, and protected by an international treaty,…


Book cover of Forgotten Foundations of Bretton Woods: International Development and the Making of the Postwar Order

Stephen C. Nelson Author Of The Currency of Confidence: How Economic Beliefs Shape the IMF's Relationship with Its Borrowers

From my list on politics that shaped international economic order.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in North Dakota and raised outside of Minneapolis in the 1980s and 1990s, a period marked by the ascendance of global trade and finance. I got hooked on reading, thinking, and talking about the politics of international economic relations in college. Sufficiently hooked, I guess, that I applied to graduate school to try and make it my vocation. My research and teaching to this point have focused on how key political and ideational forces in domestic and world politics – namely, international organizations, shared economic beliefs, social conventions, and material interests – shape the governance of globalized markets and the crafting of countries’ foreign economic policies.

Stephen's book list on politics that shaped international economic order

Stephen C. Nelson Why did Stephen love this book?

This book is about the planners who set about devising the rules and institutions of the post-WWII international economic order.

The conventional story is that institutions like the IMF and World Bank were mainly creations of American and British policymakers, and the rules enshrined in those institutions reflect narrowly Anglo-American ideas and interests. But Helleiner’s amazing historical research reveals that officials from countries in the so-called “periphery” of the world economy (like China, India, and Brazil) had much more influence in these negotiations than we realized.

Their courageous efforts ensured that some of their developmental ideas (aimed at reducing the massive global wealth and power imbalances) were, in fact, incorporated into the international rules that shaped the postwar economic order. The politics of economic ideas come to life in this book. 

By Eric Helleiner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Forgotten Foundations of Bretton Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Forgotten Foundations is classic interdisciplinary history, drawing on literatures from political science and economics as well as primary sources.... Helleiner has made an important contribution that will permanently re-frame how scholars conceptualize Bretton Woods." Journal of Interdisciplinary History

Eric Helleiner's new book provides a powerful corrective to conventional accounts of the negotiations at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in 1944. These negotiations resulted in the creation of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank-the key international financial institutions of the postwar global economic order. Critics of Bretton Woods have argued that its architects devoted little attention to international development issues…


Book cover of The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order

Alan Bollard Author Of Economists at War: How a Handful of Economists Helped Win and Lose the World Wars

From my list on how economists agree and disagree amongst each other.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an economics professor at Victoria University of Wellington. As a previous Secretary of the New Zealand Treasury and Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, I have had quite a bit of experience watching economists’ ideas succeed and fail in the real world. I have written a number of books about policy economists and their lives in peace and wartime. (And a couple of novels too!)

Alan's book list on how economists agree and disagree amongst each other

Alan Bollard Why did Alan love this book?

This is the story of the momentous wartime meetings in New Hampshire that mapped out the new institutions that were to guide the global economy through the Cold War and after: the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. It is an absorbing intellectual battle between arrogant British aristocratic John Maynard Keynes and the scrappy US Treasury official Harry Dexter White. (Spoiler alert: White won, but spoiled his reputation by likely being a Soviet spy.)

By Benn Steil,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Battle of Bretton Woods as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When turmoil strikes world monetary and financial markets, leaders invariably call for 'a new Bretton Woods' to prevent catastrophic economic disorder and defuse political conflict. The name of the remote New Hampshire town where representatives of forty-four nations gathered in July 1944, in the midst of the century's second great war, has become shorthand for enlightened globalization. The actual story surrounding the historic Bretton Woods accords, however, is full of startling drama, intrigue, and rivalry, which are vividly brought to life in Benn Steil's epic account. Upending the conventional wisdom that Bretton Woods was the product of an amiable Anglo-American…


Book cover of When Things Don't Fall Apart: Global Financial Governance and Developmental Finance in an Age of Productive Incoherence

Elizabeth Friesen Author Of Challenging Global Finance: Civil Society and Transnational Networks

From my list on why international finance fails to deliver.

Why am I passionate about this?

During my childhood I heard many stories of economic collapse, depression, and subsequent war. This created an early awareness of the power of financial forces to shape the welfare, security, and life chances of millions. Since then, I have worked to better understand how such things happen and what could be done about them. I have focused on the nature of power and studied the contingent and contested political processes that shape financial orders. This contestation opens up the possibility of change and makes me hope that future financial orders will, eventually, be based on a wiser, more encompassing understanding of welfare, security, and perhaps even justice, than has been the case so far. 

Elizabeth's book list on why international finance fails to deliver

Elizabeth Friesen Why did Elizabeth love this book?

This book is a welcome antidote to the defeatism that results from a crisis-prone view of the world which is so easy to fall into today.

Grable argues that we should recognize that the rigid models that define a narrow “correct” path to progress are inadequate. Instead, she puts forward the value of what she calls “unscripted” innovations and reminds the reader of the value of “muddling through” and incremental change.

Grable shines a well-deserved light on earlier work by Hirschman and Lindblom. She combines an appreciation of the importance of ideas and the necessity of a high tolerance for complexity and incoherence. This book makes the case for the importance of remaining calm and carrying on, while still keeping an eye out for opportunity.  

By Ilene Grabel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When Things Don't Fall Apart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An account of the significant though gradual, uneven, disconnected, ad hoc, and pragmatic innovations in global financial governance and developmental finance induced by the global financial crisis.

In When Things Don't Fall Apart, Ilene Grabel challenges the dominant view that the global financial crisis had little effect on global financial governance and developmental finance. Most observers discount all but grand, systemic ruptures in institutions and policy. Grabel argues instead that the global crisis induced inconsistent and ad hoc discontinuities in global financial governance and developmental finance that are now having profound effects on emerging market and developing economies. Grabel's chief…


Book cover of The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy

Max Gillman Author Of The Spectre of Price Inflation

From my list on Walter Bagehot’s challenge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I remember in high school going to the gas pump and filling up during the oil crisis of the 1970s. Inflation was everywhere, but I had no idea what that was. I learned something about this in college and then in Congress as a legislative aide. I remember distinctly a conversation in Congress on how we were going to pay for these huge deficits that arose out of the Reagan tax cuts, all the while when inflation was peaking at that time. I had no idea. I then spent my PhD working in monetary economics to show the effect of inflation on the economy and have not stopped yet.

Max's book list on Walter Bagehot’s challenge

Max Gillman Why did Max love this book?

King was the head of the Bank of England during the financial crisis of 2008. He declared full deposit insurance for the entire United Kingdom private banking system, with no deposit premiums required. This ended the run on the banks that spilled over into the streets of the UK during the crisis, when the Bank of England at first decided not to take care of Northern Rock, a private retail bank that was headed towards insolvency.

King provides a whimsical and sharp review of the private and central bank system before and after the crisis that builds very much on Charles Goodhart and Walter Bagehot. King laudably faults economists and the Economics profession for thinking that establishing negative real interest rates worldwide is the answer to central bank crises (in his newly added Introduction to the paperback edition of his 2016 hardback by the same name). Yet King sides with…

By Mervyn King,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The End of Alchemy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Something is wrong with our banking system. We all sense that, but Mervyn King knows it firsthand; his ten years at the helm of the Bank of England, including at the height of the financial crisis, revealed profound truths about the mechanisms of our capitalist society. In The End of Alchemy he offers us an essential work about the history and future of money and banking, the keys to modern finance.

The Industrial Revolution built the foundation of our modern capitalist age. Yet the flowering of technological innovations during that dynamic period relied on the widespread adoption of two much…


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